The author, Frank Crimi, describes the horrific case of one 15-year-old girl, Sahar Gul, who was an underage bride. She was freed by Afghan police in December after having been tortured for six months by her in-laws in an attempt to force her into prostitution.
During her captivity, she was kept locked in a basement, tortured with hot irons, fingers broken and other fingernails ripped out.
According to Crimi:
The violent abuse used against Afghan females also entails the widespread and socially accepted practice of forced child marriage, a cultural and religious reality that has led to over half of the marriages in Afghanistan involving girls under the age of 16.
Crimi points out that in April, 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed the Shiite Personal Status Law, which applied to the minority Shiite population. “Provisions in that legislation allowed 14-year-old girls to marry as well as men to rape their wives. After outcries by Afghan women’s groups that the government was legalizing marital rape, Karzai said the law would be amended to bring it in line with the Afghan constitution, which guarantees equal rights for women.
“To that end, the Afghan government enacted later in 2009 the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law which criminalized acts like early or forced marriage and rape.” But, this law is rarely enforced.